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“It was a long and complicated process. I will not bore you with the details.”
“It must have been difficult…” A plan began to form in her mind. “Did my grandfather engage you to find my sister as well?”
He gave a nod, lifting his densely muscled arm as she wrapped the linen around the wound she’d caused. Christina kept her focus on her questions and not on the thick musculature of his arm and the odd prickle of awareness that skittered down her back.
“Did you know where my sister had been taken when our parents died? Who had raised her?”
“No. I went to London – where Sarah and Daniel Hayes lived – and started asking questions.”
Christina could not imagine what the questions had been or whom he would have asked. How did one begin to find a needle – or two – in a haystack?
“Can you locate anyone? Anyone at all?”
She found him looking at her, not at what she was doing, but at her face. He was very close, close enough that she could see flecks of silver in his light blue eyes. And his lashes – impossibly long and black as coal. A small crescent of a scar at the corner of his eye only added to the stunning appeal of his features.
He did not respond immediately to her question, holding her gaze until he blinked and turned to look at his arm. “Yes,” he finally said. “Anyone.”
Christina could think of no other person who showed such complete confidence. She finished the bandaging and tied the knot. “So… Windermere has paid you to find me?” she asked.
The brow over his right eye lowered ever so slightly. “He is not obliged to pay me until I take you to him.”
“Are you one of those Bow Street men?”
“No. Apparently, your grandfather heard of my expertise at… finding people… on the continent.”
“In the army?”
“Aye.” A muscle in his jaw tensed.
Christina knew he wasn’t about to leave Sweethope Cottage. After all, he must have come some distance for her. And he wouldn’t be paid until he produced her for her grandfather. He had to stay.
She did want to meet her sister. It was just that the situation with her brother was so immediate.
Christina quickly made up her mind. She was going to have to delay that meeting until she found Lang. And Captain Briggs was the key to doing so. He’d found Lily with few clues, and it couldn’t have been easy to find her, either.
She followed Briggs to the drawing room at the front of the house and waited when he stepped outside and went to his horse. Half naked, he reached up and took down a leather satchel while Christina gaped at his bare back. His shoulders. His lean waist. The ripple of muscle when he moved his arms. The way his longish, dark hair brushed his neck.
She watched with interest as he came back to the house, pulling on the fresh shirt that he’d taken from his satchel. He was far more rugged than her late husband, and seemed to fit into the rustic setting of Sweethope Cottage far better than Edward ever had.
It had surprised her to learn Edward had bequeathed her the country house, for she’d visited there only a few times. But of course, he had not planned on dying so precipitously. Or in such outrageous circumstances.
“If we leave now, we can make it to Windermere the day after tomorrow,” Captain Briggs said when he turned and saw her standing at the window in the drawing room.
“I’m not going to Windermere,” Christina replied.
“Yes, you are.”
“I need to go to London first.”
He tucked the long tails of his shirt into his trews. Then he caught her gaze and spoke quietly. “I’d rather not tie you to the back of my horse, Lady Fairhaven, but I will if I—”
“Do you order your wife about this way, Captain Briggs?”
“I have no wife, Lady Fairhaven. And I assure you that if I did have one, she would be far more tractable—”
“I am being blackmailed, Captain. I need to go to London right away.”
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